Billionaire Elon Musk was showered with reward during a trip to China this week, with folks on social media calling him “a pioneer,” “Brother Ma” and “a worldwide idol” whereas the CEO of Tesla, Twitter, SpaceX and different corporations additionally met in particular person with three authorities ministers.
Since touchdown in Beijing on Tuesday, Musk has met with China’s international, commerce and business ministers and has dined with Zeng Yuqun, chairman of high battery provider CATL.
Little is thought of these conversations. The business ministry solely mentioned Musk and its head exchanged views about improvement of electrical autos and related automobiles; the commerce ministry introduced he mentioned Tesla’s improvement in China with its head. However lack of knowledge didn’t cease an outpouring of enthusiasm for Musk on Chinese language social media.
“He’s a worldwide idol,” commented one consumer. “Elon Musk is simply nice, if solely China may have somebody like Elon Musk,” mentioned one other.
His personal jet left Beijing on Wednesday night for the monetary hub of Shanghai, the place the US automaker has a factory, based on flight knowledge supplier Variflight. He was anticipated to journey to the plant to satisfy with workers, two sources conversant in the matter mentioned.
Tesla didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Musk’s unannounced journey was the most recent by a serious US CEO to China because the nation reversed its zero-COVID coverage and reopened its borders. Apple’s Tim Prepare dinner visited in March, whereas JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon and Starbucks’ Laxman Narasimhan are in China this week.
However in comparison with lower-key welcomes for his counterparts, Musk’s go to is a scorching trending matter and his reputation comes regardless of rising US-China tensions, with eager curiosity proven in his comments on artificial intelligence and electrical autos.
Even the menu for the 16-course meal on the upmarket Man Fu Yan restaurant he shared with CATL’s Zeng on Tuesday night was effusive, pictures posted on social media confirmed.
Illustrated with two rearing horses — a play on the character for horse utilized in Musk’s Chinese language title — the menu described Tesla as a darkish horse “standing out from conventional automotive corporations.”
In distinction to the social media storm in China and his propensity at house to make waves on Twitter (which he now owns), Musk has but to make any public statements throughout his journey. Twitter is blocked in China.
Tesla and CATL didn’t reply to requests for remark. The commerce ministry additionally didn’t reply to a request for remark. The international ministry quoted the billionaire as describing the US and China economies as “conjoined twins” and saying that he was against their decoupling.
Musk’s first go to to China in three years comes as Tesla faces intensifying competitors from Chinese language-made electrical autos and a few uncertainty about enlargement plans for the Shanghai plant.
The Shanghai manufacturing unit produced over 700,000 Mannequin Y and Mannequin 3 autos final 12 months, greater than half of the corporate’s world output.
It was not clear if Tesla is dealing with any regulatory hurdles to increasing the plant.
Buyers are additionally eager to know whether or not China regulators will clear the discharge of Tesla’s superior driver help options. The options can be found in the US as a part of the “Full Self Driving” software it sells for $15,000 per car.